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As far back as 1996, the NGO Human Rights Watch has been predicting an “imminent humanitarian crisis” in Gaza. Indeed, various NGOs have lodged annual claims that the Jewish state is responsible for the “imminent humanitarian crisis” in the Gaza Strip. Might they have stopped to ask: How has the Gaza Strip been “on the verge” of a humanitarian crisis in excess of 10 years?
In order to best protect civilians and other individuals not taking part in the hostilities, IHL imposes obligations not only on states but also on non-state actors, such as individuals and organized armed groups. But it is hard to identify the IHL obligations which bind the Hamas because of the difficulties involved in classifying the Israel-Hamas armed conflict as international or non-international. Some normative development may be needed to clarify the state of the law in this respect. In addition, contemporary means and methods of warfare may require further normative and institutional developments in order to better achieve the goals of IHL.